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Register of the Benjamin Zweifach Papers
MSS 0470  
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Benjamin Zweifach Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1932-1997
    Collection number: MSS 0470
    Creator: Zweifach, Benjamin W. (Benjamin William)
    Extent: 10.20 linear feet (19 archives boxes, 3 card file boxes, and 7 oversized folders)
    Repository: Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD
    La Jolla, CA 92093-0175
    Abstract: Papers of Benjamin W. Zweifach, pioneering researcher in the field of microcirculation and co-founder of the Bioengineering Department at the University of California, San Diego. Zweifach served as professor of bioengineering at UCSD from 1966-1981 and was designated emeritus professor of bioengineering in 1981. His areas of specialization included cardiovascular physiology, the lymphatic system, the inflammatory process, blood-tissue exchange, shock, blood rheology, and the contribution of endothelial cells and the blood leukocytes to the microcirculatory imbalance in hypertension and diabetes. The papers include correspondence, writings and original research by Zweifach, writings by others annotated by Zweifach, and photographs, slides and films related to Zweifach's life and research. The papers are arranged in eleven series: 1) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, 2) CORRESPONDENCE, 3) WRITINGS AND RESEARCH, 4) WRITINGS BY OTHERS, 5) TEACHING MATERIALS, 6) SUBJECT FILES, 7) CONFERENCES AND MEETINGS, 8) PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS, 9) PHOTOGRAPHS, SLIDES, AND FILMS, 10) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS, and 11) ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES.
    Physical location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Letters of recommendation located in box 1, folder 34 are restricted until 2077 in accordance with state and federal laws. Originals films located in boxes 20-22 are restricted. Researchers must request user copies.

    Preferred Citation

    Benjamin Zweifach Papers, MSS 0470. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.


    Born in New York City to Eastern European immigrants in 1911, Benjamin W. Zweifach received a B.S. degree in biology in 1931 from the College of the City of New York and a Ph.D. in cellular physiology from New York University Medical College in 1936. His first publications were some of the earliest micromanipulative studies of the capillary blood vessels in living tissue. Beginning with these studies, Zweifach devoted his career to the study of the smallest blood vessels in the circulation system.
    Zweifach was an assistant professor and associate professor of physiology at Cornell Medical School from 1947-1952. He returned to New York University, serving as associate professor of biology and pathology until 1958 and then as professor of pathology until 1966. Having established himself as a leading researcher in the field of microcirculation, Zweifach decided to learn and use engineering methods to further his studies. He went to the California Institute of Technology as a visiting professor in 1964, collaborating with engineers like Harold Wayland, Yuan-Cheng Fung, and Marcos Intaglietta. In 1966, he accepted an appointment as professor of bioengineering in the Department of Applied Mechanics and Engineering Sciences (AMES) at the University of California, San Diego. The Bioengineering Program began in 1966 as a joint enterprise between the School of Medicine and the general university campus. One of the earliest programs of its kind, the department continued to grow and receive international recognitition for its pioneering work in education and research. The program continued a close association with the School of Medicine after it became an independent department in 1994. Zweifach remained affiliated with the department for 28 years, guiding its success and working in the laboratory.
    While Zweifach was an active member of many medical and engineering societies, he was especially involved in the Microcirculatory Society, an organization he had helped found in 1954. He served as its president in 1960 and 1979. During his second term in office, Zweifach assisted in the organization of the Second World Congress for Microcirculation, which was held at UCSD in conjunction with the 25th anniversary meeting of the Microcirculatory Society. Recognizing his role as a leader in microcirculation research, the Microcirculatory Society began presenting the Benjamin W. Zweifach Award annually in 1982.
    Benjamin Zweifach died in 1997.


    The papers of Benjamin W. Zweifach, professor of bioengineering and researcher in microcirculation physiology, include correspondence with other researchers, reprints of published papers, unpublished writings and notes, annotated copies of other researchers's writings, correspondence and planning documents related to several microcirculation conferences and professional organizations, teaching materials from courses at UCSD, photographs of Zweifach, and technical photographs, slides and 16mm film related to his research. Most of the material documents the latter part of Zweifach's career following 1970. The materials are arranged in eleven series: 1) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIAL, 2) CORRESPONDENCE, 3) WRITINGS AND RESEARCH, 4) WRITINGS OF OTHERS, 5) TEACHING MATERIALS, 6) SUBJECT FILES, 7) CONFERENCES AND MEETINGS, 8) PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS, 9) PHOTOGRAPHS, SLIDES, AND FILMS, 10) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS, and 11) ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES.
    The BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS series, arranged alphabetically, contains several versions of Zweifach's bio-bibliography prepared for UCSD. The series also gathers awards and certificates received by Zweifach. Newspaper articles about Zweifach and his career are also included in the series.
    The CORRESPONDENCE series documents Zweifach's relationships with other researchers and educators. Correspondence related to individual publications is located in the Writings and Research series.
    The WRITINGS AND RESEARCH series gathers reprints, drafts, notes, and other documents that reflect Zweifach's work in the field of microcirculation. The series is arranged in six subseries: A) Published Writings, B) Unpublished Writings, C) Lectures, D) Notes and Data, E) Proposals and Grants, and F) Film Narrations.
    A) The Published Writings subseries contains reprints, drafts, and notes for many published works by Zweifach. The subseries begins with a folder containing a numbered publications list and photocopies of the table of contents for several previously bound volumes of reprints. Though titles from both publications lists are missing from the collection, these lists can be used as an index to the subseries. Because of variations in numbering and order on the two lists, the writings have been arranged in chronological order and foldered by year. Any ancillary material related to a published title, such as notes, preprints, correspondence, or drafts, has been foldered with the reprint.
    B) The Unpublished Writings subseries, arranged alphabetically, contains notes and drafts of manuscripts not found in published form.
    C) The Lectures subseries contains drafts and final copies of talksand symposium lectures given by Zweifach at conferences and professional meetings. The subseries is arranged alphabetically by title.
    D) The Notes and Data subseries contains handwritten notes and data tables arranged alphabetically by title.
    E) The Proposals and Grants subseries gathers materials related to Zweifach's participation in federal grant programs, university programs, and prospective cooperative programs with other universities. The subseries is arranged alphabetically by title.
    F) The Film Narrations subseries contains correspondence and manuscripts documenting Zweifach's involvement in several microcirculation films. The subseries is arranged alphabetically by title.
    The WRITINGS BY OTHERS series is arranged alphabetically by author and contains writings by UCSD faculty and graduate students, as well as many international researchers.
    The TEACHING MATERIALS series, arranged alphabetically, consists of lecture notes, syllabi, and readings from several courses Zweifach taught at UCSD.
    The SUBJECT FILES series is arranged alphabetically. Unlike the Notes and Data subseries in the collection, the material in this series combines writings by others on various subjects and lists of references with Zweifach's own original notes and research. The material documents Zweifach's research interests in microcirculation and his involvement in bioengineering education.
    The CONFERENCES AND MEETINGS series documents Zweifach's participation in national and international symposiums on topics related to bioengineering, physiology, and microcirculation. The material consists of correspondence, planning documents, newsletters, and audiotape recordings and is arranged alphabetically by meeting title.
    The PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS material documents Zweifach's involvement in national and international microcirculation, physiology, and bioengineering organizations. His participation in the Microcirculatory Society is well documented. Included are planning documents for several World Congresses for Microcirculation and material related to the administration of the Microcirculatory Society's Benjamin W. Zweifach Award. The series is arranged alphabetically by organization title.
    The PHOTOGRAPHS, SLIDES, AND FILMS series is arranged in four subseries: A) People, B) Research, C) Slides, and D) Films. Each subseries is arranged alphabetically by title.
    A) The People subseries contains images of Zweifach and other researchers as well as three photograph albums documenting the Second World Congress of Microcirculation and the 25th anniversary meeting of the Microcirculatory Society.
    B) The Research subseries gathers photographs, illustrations, and data tables found in the collection and arranged by the titles found on the original folders. Most of these images appear to have been included in publications and reports.
    C) The Slides subseries includes both identified and unidentified slides used by Zweifach for teaching and other presentations
    D) The Films series contains several reels of 16mm film that have been partially identified using the notes on the film cannister and a precursory physical examination of the film itself. The films appear to present several microcirculation experiments for classroom use.
    The MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS series, arranged alphabetically, contains ephemera related to Zweifach's research and his career at UCSD, including academic program brochures and posters for lectures on the University's campus.
    The ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES series contains the originals of fragile documents that have been photocopied.